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Tigers Youngblood Out for the Year

Aug. 22, 2001

Clemson, SC – Kevin Youngblood, the player who Tiger coaches were looking to to replace All-American Rod Gardner in the Clemson lineup, suffered a broken leg during a scrimmage on Tuesday and will be lost for the season. The injury took place on a screen pass during the early part of practice on Tuesday.

“This is a very big loss for our football team,” said Tommy Bowden. “Kevin had a terrific spring and was having a great fall. He is a team leader, even though he is just a sophomore. We have been looking for players on offense to make big plays and he certainly would be considered the top player to replace Rod Gardner. He was primed for a big year. Now someone else will have to step up. It will create a new opportunity for another receiver.”

Youngblood suffered a comminuted fracture of the tibia and fibula, Clemson team physician Dr. Byron Harder said. He will have surgery at Oconee Memorial Hospital in Seneca. It will be performed by Dr. Steve Martin.

Youngblood had 13 catches for 225 yards and two scores as a red-shirt freshman last year. His 17.3 yards per reception figure was second on the team to Rod Gardner’s 18.1 yards per catch. Youngblood was Clemson’s Rookie of the Year on offense as chosen by the Tiger coaches last year.

Looked to as Gardner’s replacement as Clemson’s big play receiver, Youngblood came to Clemson from Raines High School in Jacksonville, FL, the same school that sent Gardner to Clemson in 1996.

Bowden did not say who would move into the starting lineup in light of Youngblood’s injury. Clemson coaches will meet Wednesday on the subject.

“This is a tough loss for our team,” said Clemson offensive guard Will Merritt. “We feel for Kevin, he had worked so hard in the preseason. This team now must find someone to fill his big shoes. We must all squeeze together a little harder on offense. When the injury happened you knew it was serious. I just turned away after I saw it and said a prayer.